| LOS ANGELES, June 29
LOS ANGELES, June 29 R&B star Pharrell, newcomer
August Alsina and actress Lupita Nyong'o led the early winners
at the BET awards on Sunday, while Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson
and John Legend led the performances at the ceremony.
Pharrell, who kicked off the show with his upbeat hit "Come
Get It Bae" with rapper Missy Elliot, was named best male
R&B/pop artist over Brown, Alsina, Legend and Justin Timberlake.
He also won video of the year for his hit "Happy," which
went viral online after people posted videos of themselves from
all over the world singing it.
"The song just became its own thing with the people, and I
just want to thank all the people who uploaded videos ... it's
no longer my song, so this award isn't really mine, it's the
award that belongs to all the people." he said.
New Orleans singer Alsina, who was nominated for four
awards, scored the first win of the night for best new artist,
and was overcome with emotion on stage.
"I told myself if and when I would get up here I wouldn't
cry," he said. "I always wondered what this moment right here
would feel like. And now I know, so thank you."
Jay Z, Beyonce and rapper Drake led the nominations on
Sunday with five nods each. Drake won best male hip hop artist
over Jay Z, but was not on hand to collect his award.
Oscar-winning newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, also not at Sunday's
show, won the best actress award, beating out "Lee Daniels' The
Butler" star Oprah Winfrey and "Scandal" star Kerry Washington.
The BET awards, held in Los Angeles, celebrates black
musicians, actors and athletes and is hosted by cable TV network
BET, Black Entertainment Television, part of Viacom Inc.
Comedian Chris Rock hosted the show, throwing jokes and
jibes at the likes of Solange Knowles, Rick Ross and Clippers
owner Donald Sterling. He also handed out chicken and waffles to
the audience, imitating Ellen DeGeneres' pizza stunt during this
The three-and-a-half hour show toplined many high-profile
performances from some of the music world's biggest names.
Usher referenced his 20-year career with a medley of his
hits while John Legend brought some romance with his ballad "You
& I" and was later joined by newcomer Jhene Aiko as they sang
her hit "I Don't Need You."
Oscar-winning actress and former "American Idol" finalist
Jennifer Hudson belted her 90s-inspired song "Walk It Out."
Troubled R&B star Brown joined rapper Lil Wayne to perform
"Loyal." Host Rock quipped about Brown's plea deal and "dancing
like he was free," referencing his recent legal troubles.
The awards show was overshadowed by two incidents of
violence at unofficial BET pre-parties in Los Angeles, including
a shooting early on Sunday that left one person dead and four
wounded. BET said both incidents "occurred at locations with
events that were unauthorized and unaffiliated."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Sandra Maler)